Product Review: Ghillie Storm Kettle and Cook Set

Sam Gravestock brews up with a Ghillie Storm Kettle (photos by Shannon Hill).

Everyone likes a brew when enjoying the great outdoors. This usually involves either carrying a thermos which results in luke warm stewed tea by the end of the day or taking some form of stove with the added weight of fuel and billy can. And if you are a caffeine-based life form like myself the mild but ever present worry that you may run out of fuel before you are finished and want to go home.

There is a solution to this though, and the solution is the Ghillie Storm Kettle!

Ghillie Storm Kettle
Ghillie Storm Kettle

The ghillie storm kettle is constructed from lightweight aluminium, weighing in at approx. 950g when empty and measuring 34cm high by 18.5cm wide.

This is a new kettle style and system to me. What I really like is that there is absolutely no need to carry heavy fuel with you. It will burn anything flammable. Pine cones, small sticks, paper, leaves and even (apparently, I have not tried this) dried animal dung - all these can be used to fuel the Ghillie storm kettle.

What makes this system so novel is that the heat of the fire goes all the way up the kettle allowing fast heating of the water as the kettle offers a wide surface area to the heat.

Central chimney of the ghillie kettle
Central chimney of the ghillie kettle

This brings me nicely to talking about the kettle. The Ghillie kettle is in effect a chimney. It is double walled allowing the water to go in the cavity between the walls. The kettle has a handle to facilitate pouring it once boiled. It has a whistle cap that goes over the spout to prevent ingress of unpleasant unwanted items and then whistles like billy-o when the kettle is boiled.

The kettle has a 1.4 litre capacity which is roughly five cups (unless you use a crusader cup when out like I do then it is more like three cups).

The whole kettle then sits upon a fire bowl where you have your assorted combustible materials all ready and waiting for ignition.

Fir cones used as fuel
Fir cones used as fuel

You can light the fuel through a small hole located in one side of the fire bowl. If you angle this hole into the wind it also provides more pull to the fire you have lit increasing the speed of the boil. A nice extra is that you can drop more fuel down the chimney if required meaning you don't have to remove the kettle from the heat interrupting the boil time.

Adding extra fuel down the chimney
Adding extra fuel down the chimney

The kettle boils in just less than five minutes which is good when using a natural fuel.

Another feature that comes with the ghillie storm kettle is a small cook set comprising of a pan and lid which can double as a frying pan, a pot holder and a two piece grill which fits over the fire bowl.

Cook set
Cook set

Using the embers from your boil you can then heat a meal to accompany your warm beverage.

Using the heat of the embers
Using the heat of the embers

The ghillie kettle all fits together so it only takes up the space of the kettle. The fire bowl when inverted fits into the base of the kettle and then the cooking set fits into the fire bowl. All of this then fits neatly into the drawstring bag that comes with the set.

Testing the kettle

I received the kettle just before myself and two friends went camping for the weekend.

Initial impressions where that it looked interesting (always a good thing - it makes a good topic of conversation) and I was intrigued by the fact that I could use a plethora of natural combustible materials to fuel it.

I gave it a test run in my back garden to see how well it fared. It is also recommended in the instructions that come with it to boil it once and then dispose of the water to remove any excess remaining sealant within the kettle. I was well impressed, in fact I was little surprised at how fast it boiled! I had only nipped inside to get my smokes when I heard a very loud whistle coming from the ghillie kettle as it had already hit the boil (I was not aware of the speed it hits boiling point at the time).

Here I feel I must add a slight warning - if like me you over fill the kettle the pressure of the steam will force the whistle off of the spout and spurt boiling water out of the spout. Note that this was user error rather than a fault with the kettle.

The handle is a metal loop with a wooden grip which prevents you from burning yourself as the kettle can get very hot (which is a good thing). You can pour the contents using the handle and also the chain which keeps the spout connected to the kettle.

So then I took it camping for the weekend. One of my camping buddies is as much of a tea drinker as I am so we felt this would give it a good running.

Brew up quickly
Brew up quickly

It did not fail to impress. My buddy was so impressed that he wants one which let's face it is a very good recommendation. Throughout the weekend it was there waiting to make a quick cuppa whenever the urge took us.

What I particularly liked was that it is small enough to still use under a tarpaulin without fear of burning a hole in the tarp, ideal for use in poor weather conditions. It was also easy enough to use that I made myself a brew whilst still in my bivi bag so I could have a nice warm cuppa in bed - a truly civilised feeling when out in the woods.

It did also catch my buddy out with over filling, resulting in the whistle cap coming off and water spurting from the spout, but only once.


All in all I am very very impressed with the ghillie storm kettle

It is clearly more suited for fixed camping than for hiking, but it would be equally useful stored in a car boot in case of breakdown, taken fishing, going to festivals where gas canisters are frowned upon, anywhere you might want but are not permitted an open fire, stored at home in case of power cuts, used at barbeques when you want a conversation piece, etc.

For a fast brew it is ideal and the fact it also has a cook set just improves its versatility and I can honestly say that it will now live in my camp kitchen box for when I go fixed camping.

This is a great bit of kit and will serve me well for years to come faithfully providing the life-giving caffeine at a moment's notice.

You can buy the Ghillie Storm Kettle and Cook Set directly from this site.

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November 2011